The COMPLETE gang is back…for the first time in forever.

4 1/2 Mikes has been operating at 80% capacity for months due to scheduling conflicts, but MJ/Big Money is, once again, joined by Dr. Z, Michael Parr, Mike Cunningham AND Mike Duquette for a fun-filled hour of…talking about books? Books about music, to be specific.

Some of the topics that come up amongst our well-read group are:

-Michael Parr’s new food website, and the enlistment of extreme peer pressure to make sure the site gets populated with content.

-The first impression of the new year-Dr. Z does Dr. Phil proud.

-One final discussion about Christmas, which leads into chats about Z’s mysterious 12-hour Christmas bug and the year Big Money got chicken pox from Santa. Also, Z got a really ugly Jerry Garcia tie and reveals that he was a pre-teen Deadhead.

-Did you know that the Ying Yang Twins played a strip club in Pittsburgh in mid-December? Z and Cunningham (who live in PGH) didn’t, and that makes them mad.

-Speaking of Pittsburgh, you should definitely check out the hip-hop comics drawn and written by Ed Piskor.

-A discussion of Nick Hornby‘s “Song Book” detours into a talk about “High Fidelity” (the alpha and the omega of music-geek fiction) and a pause to take in the overwhelming beauty that is Lisa “Lilakoi Moon” Bonet.

-So, where did the obsession with music books start? We go up the music mag ladder, from the teen rags to Rolling Stone, Spin, and the much-missed Blender.

-We stop for a second to laugh hysterically at the mess that was Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk, the first music bio that at least two of us read.

-Parr immediately gets ambitious on our ass, touting The Frank Zappa Book, while Cunningham gives a thumbs up to Ray DaviesX-Ray and a massive thumbs down to Pete Townshend.

-The panel is asked who they’d most like to read an autobiography of, and the answers reveal a lot of ’80s pop icons. And a lot of drummers. (Quick, name one ’80s pop icon who’s also a drummer. Sussudio! You’ve got it!)

-Big Money chats a bit about the best Michael Jackson bio, and inserts a plug for Joe Vogel‘s The Man In The Music, a book in which he is quoted. Twice. Parr and Z, meanwhile, give props to Per Nilsson’s The Vault, a book which is apparently unavailable on Amazon because Prince found all the copies and burned them. It’s the definitive book on Prince, no matter what Toure may have you think.

-Modern-day music geeks are rightfully jazzed about the 33 1/3 series-except for maybe the recent Andrew W.K. entry.

-Finally, we recommend our favorite music books.

(Duquette picks Steve Knopper’s Appetite For Self-Destruction, Cunningham goes with Nelson George’s Hip-Hop America, Parr suggests Michael Azerrad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life, Dr.Z chooses Bowie In Berlin by Thomas Jerome Seabrook, and MJ/Big Money wraps up with Jacob Slichter’s So You Want To Be A Rock & Roll Star.

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